City girl that I am, it takes a lot to get me out of Manila. I’m the farthest thing from a beach person — forget eating barbeque under nipa huts, strolling barefoot in the sand, or taking me anywhere where there’s a body of water. Frankly, I like this concrete jungle that I live in. What of it, anyway? I will, however, make concessions for road trips to other cities where signs of progress and civilization abound.
Tagaytay has always been one of those places. I won’t call it my “getaway,” because there’s nothing I’m getting away from ”“ I love Manila, after all ”“ but it’s an excellent destination that’s just an hour away from the metro, and there’s so much to love about it. When I think Tagaytay, I think pineapples, buko, and fantastic restaurants unlike any other here in Manila.
The trend in Tagaytay nowadays is the boutique hotel, specialized smaller places that offer luxurious environments. One such place is the Boutique Bed and Breakfast and now, the T House, where I’m staying for the weekend.
Barely a month in operation, the T House is nestled on the Tagaytay Ridge. T stands for “tranquility” and it’s the guiding light of this little corner of quiet. Situated at the bottom of a sloping hill, shades of dark brown and white dominate. Natural elements such as stone, ferns, and water are thoughtfully utilized while mango and jackfruit trees cast shadows over the gurgling fountains. Balancing formal design with a respect for nature results in the landscape’s uncluttered lines, achieving simplicity and serenity, the main goals of Zen philosophy.
Relaxing and getting back in touch with one’s center is the echo of the T House which seeks to provide an ideal refuge from life’s frenzy. Owners Fem Paguio and April Inocentes explain, “You could say the T House is a friendlier kind of boutique hotel.” Also called a bed and breakfast (the two terms often overlap), there are 15 rooms divided into three clusters ”“ Fire, Earth, and Water ”“ all individual in their own right but in-step with modern times. Each room is outfitted with an aircon, hot and cold shower (some have bathtubs), cable TV and WiFi access. Toiletries and towels are also provided for.
A short walk down a stone-lined path, about five breaths (literally) from the rooms, is the spa area, perhaps the apotheosis of rest and relaxation. Here, behind a screen door awaits a plethora of massages, spa treatments, mani and pedi (manicure and pedicure), enhanced by one’s choice of salts, scrubs, and aromas. I have little use for spa treatments ”“ I’m unbelievably ticklish ”“ and usually end up leaving the massage room even tenser than when I first entered. But my Bin is in bliss and immediately signs up for a 90-minute massage.
There are plenty of nooks and crannies (or under that tree!) where I’m more than content to read a book or sip some tea. Upon arrival at the T House, guests are given a welcome drink, usually a cool and icy refresher made from one of the herbs growing in the garden. Today it’s tarragon iced tea paired with a cold towel, a salve for our flushed skin.
Across the rooms is the dining area. Just like the exteriors, the interiors of this meld contemporary design with harmony and balance. Mismatched tables and chairs as well as a banquette have already been set for service. Soft music tinkles in the background and the ceiling fans whirl lazily above. Next door is the open kitchen bright and spacious enough to make any professional chef envious. Already the cooks are hard at work preparing our dinner.
To be continued. Up next: the food at T House.
3195 Calamba Road, Tagaytay City
For inquiries and reservations: (046) 483.0011, (046) 483.0012